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Rapidly Deployable Airborne Fuel Flowmeter (RDAFF)


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software


OBJECTIVE: Develop a flowmeter that can be attached to the outside of aircraft fuel lines and accurately read fuel flow within the pipe.


DESCRIPTION: Current methods for gathering fuel flow measurements during military flight test events involve the installation of highly precise, highly accurate and commercially available turbine-type flow meters in-line with fuel supply lines. This invasive process results in significant aircraft down-times to accommodate these in-line fuel flowmeters through substantial re-engineering and modification of OEM fuel supply lines. The primary purpose of the Rapidly Deployable Airborne Fuel Flowmeter (RDAFF) is to allow for rapid installation and removal of fuel flowmeter instrumentation components from the system under test, while retaining the accuracy, linearity and repeatability of legacy turbine-type flowmeters. Solutions must conform to the following:   1) Be easily and quickly, attached, calibrated and removed when needed. 2) Be versatile and non-invasive to fuel lines, i.e., mounted on the exterior of fuel lines.  3) Operate with excitation voltage supplied by standard aircraft power (28VDC). 4) Provide flow measurements with an accuracy ≤ +/-0.5% on any straight-pipe length, including non-ideal locations. 5) Provide fuel flow measurements on various aircraft fuels (JP-8, JP-5, Jet-A, Jet-A-1, AVGAS) up to 20,000 lbs./hr. 6) Data is time correlated with IRIG or IEEE 1588 v2 standards. 7) Compensate for changes in fuel temperature and density. 8) Provide output in RS-422 as engineering units for mass flow and temperature. 9) System packaging will comply with Air Force Airworthiness standards. 10) Final system will comply with Air Force standards for Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 6. 11) Able to withstand high performance aircraft flight envelopes. 12) Able to survive hostile aircraft environments, such as engine bays.


PHASE I: This topic is intended for technology proven ready to move directly into a Phase II. Therefore, a Phase I award is not required. Offerors interested in participating in D2P2 must include in their response to this topic "Phase I-type" feasibility documentation that substantiates the scientific and technical merit and "Phase I-type" effort such as developed a concept for a workable prototype or design to address, at a minimum, the basic requirements as described above. Documentation should include all relevant information including, but not limited to technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and performance goals/results for establishing the scientific and economic feasibility of the proposed work. Work submitted within the feasibility documentation must have been substantially performed by the Offeror and/or the principal investigator (PI).


PHASE II: Prototype testing that can withstand an airborne environment.  Obtain a TRL 6 based on Air Force standards and ready to test in an operational environment.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Military Application: Fuel flowmeter that reduces aircraft modification times to more efficiently perform the mission. Commercial Application: Rapidly measure fuel flows in petroleum extraction and refining (oil fields), automotive and industrial applications.



  1. “Ultrasonic Mass Flowmeter for Army Aircraft Engine Diagnostics”,Lawrence C. Lynnworth, Panametrics Incorporated,;
  2. “Turbine Flowmeter Fuel Flow Calculations, ARP4990”, SAE;


KEYWORDS: turbine-type flow meters in-line with fuel supply lines; OEM fuel supply lines

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